"Egret" N4674 - Scott and Mary Flanders
Ed. note: On February 10, 2011, Scott and Mary Flanders, on board their Nordhavn 46, Egret, arrived in the Canary Islands. In doing so, Egret became the eighth Nordhavn to circumnavigate the globe. It had been four years, five months since the couple departed Gran Canaria, intent on seeing as much of the earth as possible, although not necessarily with an end goal to circle the globe. Voyage of Egret documents the Flanders’ entire trip, an endless adventure that has put them in touch with the most fabulous places and interesting people. Much route planning and forecasting was required in order to get to some of their ports of call. But the days of detailed planning are over…for now. “Egret” is now back in Fort Lauderdale, the place the couple called home for so many years, and, ironically, the starting point of their world wide cruising escapade that began with the Nordhavn Atlantic Rally in 2004. They currently travel hither and yon, sometimes by boat, sometimes not. Here, the latest update from the Flanders as they keep us continually apprised.
Friday, July 29, 2010
Position: Fremantle, Western Australia
G'Day mis amigos, the weekend is just around the corner so we'll give you a little food for thought. Today we'll talk about tools but first I'm going to quote a real author who managed to sum up his life and all our lives as well, in a single sentence. He said "A life is made up of a great number of small incidents and a small number of great ones." How true this is.
Early in our travels aboard Egret we were anchored off a beach on the west side of Cat Island in the Bahamas. Another cruiser told Mary about the 'bread lady' in such and such village so I was tasked with finding this lady and buying bread. I dinghyed ashore and found an ancient lady sitting on a bench under some palm trees near the beach. Across the path were 5 or 6 typical home built Bahamian houses in faded pastels. I asked her about the bread lady and she said it was her younger sister who lived in X house. Her sister wasn't home but would be back shortly and I could order bread when she returned. So we talked while we waited. Her dirty dog sat in my lap while I scratched behind its ears and heard her life's story. This story took but a few minutes of highlights and that was that. I felt sad for her that her entire life could be summed up in such few (seemingly insignificant) incidents that were important to her.
We could all distill our lives down to as few incidents as this lady but I hope that you would have done more with your lives to make this short list difficult. I believe we are all greedy in the fact we want MORE than the usual life of childhood, formal education, marriage, kids, work, retirement and worm farm. It is obvious you need to make the most of everything but the latter. (I can see a little light going on now where you know where this is going. Get over it. This will take only a couple more minutes.)
So now let's talk about tools. We have three major tool boxes on board. One is next to Mary's side of the bed with little used tools like taps and dies, and specialty stuff. The second is in the engine room with sometimes used tools primarily for the engine room, like an impeller puller and snap ring pliers for example. The third and working box is in the pilot house under the settee. Ninety five percent of the time when I need a tool this is where I go. These tools are mainly hand wrenches, pliers, screwdrivers, wire strippers and crimpers, files and so on. Picture 1 is of the two most used tools in the box. Both are the best you can buy for its purpose. The phillips screwdriver is from Snap On tools, made in America. It has a fat three sided handle that is easy to grip and is made of a special rubber that doesn't slip if your hands are oily or have diesel on them. The drop jaw pliers are forged steel from Knipex in Germany. When you
clamp down on something the pliers don't turn loose. In fact, when you are turning a round pipe fitting for example, once the handle is closed and tight you can push with one hand and the short underside handle doesn't drop away. Both are stupidly expensive and obviously you don't need this quality tools for most jobs. It is only when you really NEED them to work they do every time. Its sorta like boats.
Picture 2 is a tool we use every day and have for the past 8 years and 359 days. Obviously she is our home but she is well more than that. We have had other homes but they were just homes. This one is different. This home has been and is the tool that has ratcheted up the list of memorable incidents to overflowing. It would be very difficult to distill the past 8 years, 359 days into a few memorable incidents.
Egret is a tool, nothing more. Sure we have pride of ownership and all that goes with it but first and foremost Egret is a tool we use to bring these incidents to life. She carries us comfortably and safely to where ever we feel will bring us the next occasions of memorable (great) incidents. Pride of ownership is way down on the list of what is important. It is so far down, pride of ownership doesn't even make the long list. I'm not talking about ownership. I'm talking about pride of ownership.
Pride of ownership is the gist of this essay. I take from reading forums on the internet some folks are so taken by the overwhelming beauty offered these days in long distance motor yachts, the basic premise of a boat being just a tool for memorable (great) incidents is lost. It seems we whip ourselves into such a dither of bigger is better that some (probably quite a few) may not realize their dreams at all because they shoot so high or work so long (driven by pride of ownership) they end up with nothing instead of buying smaller, new or used, and getting under way sooner. The Cruising Life is ALL about getting under way, adding sea miles in baby steps then figuring out what is next. By this time you will find pride of ownership has moved down the line as to what is important to you. The longer you are out the farther down the line it becomes. Your priorities are different now. Life keeps getting better. The memorable (great) incidents start stacking up. You'll see.
And now back to Fremantle. We make nearly daily walks to town for a cuppa in a sidewalk café, and enjoy the sights. Except for a few hours work stretched over the next 3 weeks until KDA (Kiwi Dick Anderson) arrives, Egret is ready to go. Yesterday we drained the water tank to make sure all was well and give it a cleaning. The tank was spotless so we reattached the inspection plate with no cleaning at all. I serviced all the flybridge dockbox padlocks with white lithium grease and Corrosion Block to keep honest people honest in Africa, Brazil and perhaps the Caribbean. It is rare we use padlocks but before leaving the States in 2004 we didn't know what to expect so we ordered a number of Abus brass padlocks that are keyed alike. Until we return to the States next year we'll also use a fairly heavy (5/16th - 8mm) stainless steel cable for the dinghy. The cable is connected at one end to the outboard, thru the gas tank handle, dinghy bow ring and to the dock. In questionable anchorages we also remove the oars and anchor. At night we'll lift the dinghy and put it on the boat deck. The spare outboard fuel tanks will also have a safety cable.
The other day we made a short half day trip to a 'historical' (all old places in Oz are called historical) town not far inland. It is another center street parking town full of charm. Parked outside the local meeting hall was this Morris Oxford motorcar hitched to a caravan of about the same vintage. Picture 3. The caravan (travel trailer) had its sides replaced with glassed over plywood. Under the glass cloth was a newspaper from 1953 (probably the car and caravan's vintage). The ads in the paper were great. THIS IS THE GIN. Quality Incomparable. GORDON'S. And of course: BRYLCREEM, The Perfect Hairdressing. And so on. Picture 3.
Of course if you gotta have a gigundus ocean crosser with all the STUFF and are a bit short, here is a suggestion. You can get a few tats, shove multiple pieces of sharp glittery metal thru your body, buy a costume, a bagpipe and hit the streets on weekends like this bloke. Picture 4. If the other half buys into the gotta have program they can hit the gym for a few weeks, buy a simple costume and hit the streets as well. Picture 5. Or, you can buy smaller and go sooner. We don't care. We kinda enjoyed the piper and the gymnast.
Have a great weekend. Ciao.
July 23, 2010
Position: Rottenest Island (off Fremantle) Western Australia
G'Day mis amigos, lets get right to techno and get that out of the way. The other day I clicked on the N.com, Latest Site Updates, new pictures of Cloudy Bay (N 55 for sale). Picture 20 shows an engine room picture that is frightening to folks who don't know. So let's talk about it. First of all, this isn't a pimp sales attempt for Cloudy Bay. This is to give a little comfort to those who may be intimidated by all the valves and complicating looking stuff in the engine room. On the right side of the picture are all these hoses and metal blocks where the hoses are connected. This looks complicated and it is. YOU will never touch anything here. It is all to do with the hydraulics package; bow and stern thrusters, windlass and stabilizers. Except for tightening a leaky hose it is best to leave this stuff to folks who know more than you or me. So forget this stuff and don't worry about it. It is very rare there are problems here. If there are problems you are only a phone call away from help.*
Now for the other side with a bank of Racor fuel filters and intimidating valves and hoses. Every Racor filter will have an engraved label saying what it filters. Every hose and valve will be engraved with its function. The fuel transfer pump pumps fuel from what fuel tank you choose to fill the day tank. From there the engine lift pump automatically takes the fuel it needs from the day tank. It is pretty simple. Fuel into the day tanks (one for the wing as well), and fuel out by the engine lift pump, that's it. Fuel not used by the engine will be returned to its respective day tank. Earlier N's without day tanks had a return line for each tank but that is simple as well. Whatever tank you are drawing from, the return line fuel valve gets opened to the same tank and the rest of the tank valves are shut (feed and return lines).
I spent my working career in the wholesale boat parts business so I have a better knowledge of boat parts than most. However, that doesn't mean I knew how to repair them or how to be a cruiser while I was working. It means I could identify parts better than, lets say, our cruising friends (John and Gail) from N62 Rover we met in Barcelona. John is a retired urologist from an inland state. What he looked at every day for a living and what I looked at was a bit different. Rover left the U.S. west coast and we met in Barcelona. So that says a lot. John figured out what was what a step at a time just as the thousands who have gone to sea the past hundred years, power or sail, including the Egret crew. Just as you will. So the gist of these couple paragraphs is do not be worried about what seems so intimidating up front.
*Now, let's talk about HELP. Let's say you buy into your dreams, are in some out of the way place you wanted to see since you were a kid and your hydraulics to the windlass and thrusters fail. And now let's say the back up hydraulic pump fails as well. What's next? Pick up the Iridium phone and see if between you and the tech you can figure out a fix. If not, all isn't lost. NOTHING will happen to you other than an inconvenience. If you are anchored you will have to lift your anchor. You have a manual bar for lifting the anchor that came with the windlass. Let's say that doesn't work for your big anchor. You are a smart guy with a smarter wife, and between both pretty soon you figure out how else you can lever up the anchor a bit at a time. If worst comes to worst and you can't retrieve the anchor, buoy** the anchor and leave it. That's right, leave the anchor and chain then motor to a dock or if there is no dock put out your smaller spare anchor and rode. You can return later for the anchor. Now get on the Iridium phone and arrange to fly in a tech for the repair. And let's say it costs $5,000 for the fix. So what? You spent more for baubles that are lying in a drawer some where. What are your dreams worth? Certainly more than a few pesos and an inconvenience if this scenario happens at all. It most likely won't.
**Egret carries 300' (95m) of 3/8" (11mm) High Test chain connected to the anchor. On the other end of the chain is 90' of 5/8" (16mm) polypropylene floating line. The polypro is attached to a pad eye in the chain locker. If we have to leave or dump the anchor in a hurry all we have to do is let the polypro come tight and cut it with a dive knife we have lashed to the bow rail near the windlass. We never anchor even close to 90' deep so the line will be floating when we come back to retrieve the anchor. This would have been a big help in Turkey when we (not we, I had a dumb attack) and left the anchor and chain laying in 65' strewn along the bottom. We came back after the two day blow with a diver who luckily found the anchor and chain. A second reason to add the polypro is to keep the chain from lying in mud in the bottom of the anchor locker. The chain lies on top of the polypro we (you) flake by hand before returning the chain to the locker. We actually took this a step farther by making a simple two level grid out of 2x2" pressure treated lumber to keep both the polypro and chain out of the mud.
Last VofE we mentioned the magnetic drive in March centrifugal pumps. Picture 1 is of the internal parts from a dissembled head. You can clearly see the removable nylon shaft, impeller and replaceable magnetic drive. Four screws hold the pump head to the pump body. The O ring in the face plate does not have to be replaced. Change the magnetic piece and impeller, reattach the nylon shaft, slide them in place, replace the pump face plate and you are pumping. Most every pump in a small N is different but no more complicated. We carry a complete pump for basically everything and parts to rebuild the defective pump at our leisure. You can do this as well, just as Rover John and thousands of others do or did. You get the picture.
OK ladies, we're back with something more interesting than guy stuff. We spent most of the day today with local folks we met in Esperance, Western Australia. They were camping in a national park and we were on a day trip by rental car. They are recently retired and are looking at perhaps slowly getting into boating in an easy to cruise place. So we gave our recommendations and then talked about cars for a bit. He is still active in auto sports so that talk carried on a bit and brought back a lot of memories.
We are pretty much caught up with boat chores, have a month to go before we leave and its time for a little adventure after vacation. A couple days after we got back we got back into the yachtie routine and went visiting. We stopped by for coffee and tea with a German couple who are Patagonia veterans as well. They have been about everywhere, particularly in the Pacific including Japan, Aleutians, Alaska and a few years trekking between New Zealand and the islands to the north.
Just a few miles offshore from Fremantle is Rottnest Island (Rat's Nest Island). We don't know much about the island except it is the premier destination for all Fremantle/Perth cruisers. Unfortunately the bottom around the island is hard limestone so it has at least a jillion mooring balls in each bay. In any case it is winter here and not many cruisers are out during the week so we were able to get a mooring heavy enough for Egret. We leave in the morning (Thursday) for two or more days moored at the island. If we have broadband service at the island we'll fire off our first impressions before the weekend.
Ok, here's the Rottnest deal. The island is beautiful with wind blown scrub on the western end and tough trees on the eastern side. The most interesting tree was a GIANT olive tree with giant olives that must be 60' (19m) tall. Rottnest is surrounded by many shallow bays and offshore reefs. The more protected bays with an entrance thru the reefs are full of moorings. Rottnest, (Rotto to locals), was named by Dutch explorers who first discovered the island and found it covered with what they thought was huge rats. Rottnest is Rats Nest in Dutch. Actually the giant rats are another wild and crazy Oz marsupial (they have a belly pocket for the kids) that looks like the cross between a large rabbit and a small wallaby. They hop along like one of the roo family. All 10,000 of them on the island. Rotto's biggest use since the Europeans arrived in OZ was as a prison island. These days the prison is a 4 star hotel where you can spend big buckos to stay in a cell. Actually, it is two cells joined together and you have a real toilet instead of a wooden bucket.
So Egret is a mooring weenie like the Fremantle Sailing Club Big Dog Power Boater (FSCBDPB) next to us with his giant important flags flying that must mean something to someone who cares, generator running and lit up like Christmas. Returning to Egret well after dark, Big Dog's group was returning to Xmas Tree and we peons were on a collision course. We had the right of way. Their group of course nearly broke their necks looking the other way so they wouldn't have to slow for the Little People. So we slowed and let them pass in their swell giant inflatable. I'm sure we were quickly dismissed in his pea brain as another victory over the Little Ones. Geesh, I hope he had a good crossing, all ten tough nautical miles. Rottnest today, Cape Horn tomorrow. OK, I'll leave the BD's alone.
Mary and I hiked here and there around the island, took an interesting guided tour of the ex prison facilities and today took the bus around the island getting off at interesting locations. This afternoon we took the last bus for our pick of spots for sunset pictures. Mary has a new low light lens and has been getting some remarkable photos. As luck would have it there was an osprey's nest on an offshore rock. Landscape photography is all about color and light. We fooled around this evening after dark with different settings and hit on a combination that allowed the camera to see what the human eye can't. We can't show everything we did but any photo you see in this VofE came right out of the camera, not some surrealistic Photoshop interpretation. (Actually, we don't have Photoshop). Australia has remarkable sunsets, more so than any place we have visited. I don't know where the colors come from unless the Icelandic volcano eruption has spread ash in this direction but I don't see how.
Last but not least, there is a new permanent member of the Egret crew. Mary found Tommy (named for Thompson Bay where we are moored) in some sea weed that came aboard with the dinghy lines sometime since we arrived. Tommy was toast (TU - Tango Uniform) so we'll keep him in the pilot house as our good luck mascot.
We leave in the morning for Fremantle and will be a Marina Queen once again. So what will the next days bring? Don't have a clue. Isn't that great? Ciao.
Friday, July 16, 2010
G'Day mis amigos, oh happy daze. The Egret crew is back aboard our little white fiberglass ship, our happy home and only home. Once aboard we quickly checked the electrics (perfect), the bilge (dry) then started turning on the breakers, opening things up and so on. She was as clean as if we left for the weekend, not 64 days. We have never been gone as long in almost 9 years aboard. Once in Ushuaia, Argentina we left her on a heavy duty mooring for 7 weeks to make the rounds visiting family. Let's back up a bit.
There are a lot of travel highlights worth mentioning. Unfortunately without a sense of Australia they are words to unknown locations. We did the best we could while traveling and sending in pictures. While in the prep mode for leaving Oz we will continue to give VofE updates and will send miscellaneous Oz travel pictures. Later we have a special, special treat. The last couple days in the car Mary was going over her impressions of how much she liked Oz and the folks. So SHE is going to give her impressions of the trip.
(Scott here) The last few days on the road we were heading for home and didn't stop to dally. We left each day well before daybreak, drove slowly and pounded out the k's until after dark not bothering trying to camp. It was too cold and by taking a room we could drive 3 more hours vs setting up early enough to fix dinner and eat during daylight and relative warmth. We arrived back in Fremantle a little after noon giving us the afternoon to unload and start washing the MBE.
Originally we planned to be traveling for 3+ months. It was a series of events that shortened our schedule. The NW section of South Western Australia is called the Kimberly Region and one of the more interesting areas we planned to spend lots of time. The highlight for us would have been navigating the 4WD tough guy Gibbs River Road. There were two issues. First, because of an unusually late wet season flooding many areas of the park, the Gibb was closed. Secondly, in our innocence thinking we could take the 4WD MBE thru the track was not to be. We learned after the fact the MBE is limited in fuel range and ability. However, we did learn a lot and know what to do next time or any time we want to camp in the future for an extended period. In the end what did us in was the cold.
Now let's look at the positive. Australia is a BIG country with lotsa stuff to see and lotsa nice folks. Oz is NOT like traveling in America or Europe. Here you need to be more responsible. Fuel is sometimes 260k's (155 miles) apart (on major roads), not on every corner and nothing in between. Tires can not be marginal. AAA isn't 15 minutes away to fix a flat. Most areas we visited, except the east coast and larger cities, the far majority of private and work cars are 4WD diesel SUV's or trucks with a snorkel (engine air intake near the top of the windshield) and basically all have after-market tough guy bumpers with multiple bars for keeping critters out of the radiator and sheet metal. Road kill in places is staggering (mainly kangaroos hit at night), and a sad fact of outback life. 'Normal' cars wouldn't last a week or perhaps a few weeks at best if driven at night. During the 'wet' many areas are isolated for weeks or months at a time. Rain doesn't soak in here, it floods and washes away. Nearly everywhere except for the east coast you pass signs saying flood areas and depth markers up to 2.4 meters (7 ½') marking water OVER the road. Usually the markers are just 1 meter (3+'). And these are the good roads including the largest highways.
The highways themselves are nearly all 2 lane unless you are approaching a major city. At least 30% of the ones we traveled (I'm being politically kind here) are sub standard. There are reasons and they are simply economic (tax base). Western Australia is a huge state and has a singular large population area centered around Perth/Fremantle. The next larger towns are probably measured in a few tens of thousands. Northern Territory is another large state with just two 'cities', Darwin with probably less than 100k and Alice Springs area with perhaps 30k. In between are lotsa k's. Trailer trains up to 53.5 meters long (172') delivering goods, serving the mining industry, and cattle take their toll. And of course there is seasonal flooding. So it is what it is. The real attraction to me is the secondary unpaved roads into desolate regions. Some are 4WD only. There is little fuel and sorta no one to help. It is like the challenge of long distance cruising. In a sense this is more difficult. The weather is harsher and the price of a breakdown is high (we're not talking dollars here). Egret is actually safer crossing oceans than an unaccompanied desolate outback track in anything but a well maintained, first class 4WD with spares.
If we ever come back to Oz and travel it would be to drive two tracks. The Gibb River Road and surrounds for a couple months and to cross the Simpson Desert. We looked at all types of transportation in our travels and for what we are interested in, pictures 2 and 3 would be our choice. Picture 2 is a common rental from Kea (keacampers.com.au or keacampers.com.nz if you are going to New Zealand). This is a real 4WD Toyota 70 series SUV pop top with everything built in. This gives you independence from campgrounds and crowds. Picture 3 is what we would buy. It would be a heavy duty 4WD diesel, crew cab and a trayon.com camper on back. Both options eliminate the trailer nuisance, are fast to set up, well built and rugged. Equipping a 4WD for the outback is an art the Ozzies have down pat. I won't get into it but it is not difficult to get set up.
Back to the present. We walked around the boat grinning to ourselves we were so happy to get back. This is positive and not to insinuate anything negative. Picture 1 tells the story. MS is sitting in MY chair with her feet on MY ottoman listening to music, our happy little picture dealie on her left is playing the past (photo's), and she is working on her second cuppa (the first was served to her in bed). So life is good for the Egret crew.
Now it is project time after vacation. We have a few lists to deal with. Mary has already readied KDA's (Kiwi Dick Anderson's) stateroom for the big push starting in little over a month. We will heavy provision with hard goods soon and stuff the freezers with meat before Dick arrives so it will hard freeze while on shore power. While here we will buy all the engine oil we will need between here and Florida. We are really picky about our oil. We use 15W40 Shell Rimula, Shell's heavy duty, top of the line diesel oil. (The oil is called Rimula in NZ, South America, and Europe and Rotella T in the States). A couple days before we leave we will have a diver clean the bottom with a towel to remove any slime and make sure the props (main and wing) and keel cooler are spotless. The day before leaving Fremantle we will fuel including the forward and behind the Portuguese bridge fuel bladders (roughly 140/42 gallons - 530/160ltr). The stern
bladder will be filled farther north in Geraldton, Oz while taking on final fuel for the passage. (Because of Egret's canoe stern the 100 gallon (380 ltr) stern bladder really sinks the stern, particularly when we are heavily provisioned with canned goods under the settee). We will empty the stern bladder the third day under way if the seas are kind. When stretching fuel at 1350 RPM, we burn roughly 42-45 gallons of fuel a day (160-170ltr/24 hours) when heavy with fuel, and less as fuel burns off. According to the Indian Ocean pilot charts, during the 3200nm trip from Geraldton to Mauritius, Egret should have seas from aft of the beam the far majority of the time adding to fuel mileage.
Later. Today we did a couple projects. The first was replacing the 12V Oberdorfer Naiad cooling pump with a Groco CB-1012 continuous duty 20 gpm 12V pump (Naiad's only require 3 gpm cooling). The Oberdorfer's shaft seal failed twice (a very slow weep and corrosion seized the shaft) so its outta here. The Groco has a glass filled nylon head that is non corrosive and has a first class ceramic shaft seal (not a CJ - cheapie joe, rubber lip seal). Both pumps, Groco and March, are centrifugal pumps that are full flow (thru) if they are not running and can pump less than their rated gpm with no penalty for the restriction. You see in picture 5 the March LC3CPMD115 (115V) primary Naiad cooling pump running off the inverter that HAS NOT failed since delivery (red pump on the right). Both have separate circuit breakers so if the 115V March or inverter fails for whatever reason, all it takes it turning on the 12V Groco and you don't miss a beat.
Another reason for choosing a Groco is NAR buddies aboard N46 Envoy crossed the Atlantic and the Med running solely on a 12V Groco continuous duty centrifugal Naiad cooling pump with no issues. It is difficult to get a 12V motor to run continuously because of heat but the Groco seems to do just fine.
Centrifugal pumps are not self priming and must be installed below the waterline. After delivery we changed Egret's water feed hose from the inlet sea strainer to the dual cooling pump set up (we installed ourselves) from ½" to ¾" and got rid of the girly 12V Jabsco rubber impeller Naiad cooling pump. You can see in the picture the mouse job plumbing where we had to install ¾" to 1" adapters accommodating the Groco's 1" fixed hose inlet and outlet barbs. Once back in Florida the pumps will be repositioned, inlet fitting on the March pump and sea strainer changed and the hoses enlarged to 1" throughout.
Here's another little trick. The March pump* is a magnetic drive pump and CAN NOT be run dry**. We prime the system on start up with the 12V pump that can run dry for a while. When there is water flow coming from the Naiad cooling discharge thru hull we turn on the 115V March pump and turn off the 12V pump. (Both pumps and spare parts came from lewismarine.com) *Cruiseaire and Marineaire (March) air conditioning pumps have the same magnetic replaceable drives. We carry a spare complete March pump, pump head complete and two magnetic assemblies. We do not carry any spares for the 12V pump. *the pump head complete and spare magnet assemblies also fit Egret's 3 March air conditioner pumps. (A/C pumps are 220V 50/60 cycle and the Naiad cooling pump is 115V 60 cycle)
**The March pump motor is basically a submersible fountain pump motor designed to run 24/7/365 that never fails. The motor is water cooled (internal water bypass tube) and runs forever. If the pump runs dry and smokes the magnetic drive most folks replace the entire pump or at least the complete pump head. You don't have to do either. Spare magnetic drive slide in replacements are available and inexpensive. Five screws, 4 minutes of your time, slide out the old magnet drive, remove the nylon shaft and impeller, reverse the deal, 5 screws, PRIME the pump (so water is coming out of the vertical discharge - bright blue hose in the picture) and you are ready to go. Oh by the way, don't forget to CLOSE the inlet seacox BEFORE you take the pump apart. OPEN the seacox and prime the pump after the repair before you turn on the circuit breaker.
The other project was changing oil in the wing. Whoop de doo. Picture 6 is the PVC ball valve we installed in-line on the discharge side of the muffler. We flooded the wing engine with seawater on the Argentine coast because we were standing on our nose then tail in tall steep seas. The anti siphon valve in the vented loop stuck closed and between both we ingested water. Adding the in line valve prevents that possibility.
A secondary tale here is about the heavy duty blue paper towels in the wing engine ball valve photo. NAR buddies, N47 Strictly for Fun, got a bad slug of fuel in Gibraltar and were getting low on Racor filter elements. (The transfer pump Racor filter element had a tear that fed bad fuel to the day tank then on to the primary Racor's). He wrapped a clean filter element with one of these blue towels as a pre filter and it worked GREAT. He passed what he learned on to us so we tried one as a test and the paper towel did not degrade after 3 days under way. When we removed the paper towel from the Racor filter element, the element was spotless. So, in an emergency..........
Picture 4 is a trip down memory lane as well as to the dumpster (tip). Our oldest son, Scott Jr, bought Mary and I this boom box for our first trawler in 1999. She was a lovely 32' Grand Banks named Proud Mary. When we moved aboard Egret, along came the boom box and was our only source of music until we caved late last year and bought the latest ultra modern electronic gizmo called an I Pod. So while trying to find more storage space I came across the boom box in my master stateroom cedar lined closet full of tools and no clothes. The boomer was at the bottom. We needed the space so........
So there you have it. A little about Oz, returning home, techno and details of the upcoming trip. Ciao.
Mary here: Well..what can one add to all that guy stuff?! All I can tell you is that expectations and reality don't always go hand in hand when traveling . Scott and I covered 20,890 k's (12,534 miles) of Australia by car, a number of nautical miles coastal cruising in Tasmania then on to Fremantle and we feel we did get a taste/sense of the country. We thought Oz was going to be nothing but flat empty space behind the coastline. We expected k's and k's of red dirt and no people. We expected lots of nasties to watch out for; crocs, venomous spiders, snakes, and lizards. Heck, we expected Crocadile Dundee; someone who didn't speak English! Surprise, surprise!
Yes, there are some of the aforementioned unmentionables, but truly Oz for us was much more. It is diverse and beautiful. There are mountains, wonderful trees (odd though because they shed their bark more than leaves) and there is green and golden grass, k's and k's of it. Did I mention the birds?! I personally did not come across one snake in the wild. We did hear the call and even saw the dingo (wild dog). We visited many parks with beautiful waterfalls (including safe croc-free swimming areas). Natural light shows the real beauty of this country. It enhances those reds you hear about; the dirt, the rocks and the sunsets. Unbelievable.
In general Scott and I have found people friendly everywhere we have traveled. They are willing to help if you need it, pass information along, even offer you their vehicle and accommodations. But..hold onto your hats Ozzies. Despite what you guys would probably rather NOT hear is that Ozzies remind us so much of (gasp should I say it) Americans! Yes, those other somewhat English speaking peoples in the other big country. We found Ozzies to be right up front in your face friendly and chatty (in a good way ). You know, like Yanks who if you sit next to one on a plane you know their life story before you even take off. They joke and don't take things very seriously on the surface of a chance meeting. It had been commented to me by a Brit years ago that "you Americans are rather patriotic...waving flags and all". I really didn't expect that or see it at the time. But on observation when visiting back home I noticed. Yes we have flags displayed on a lot of public buildings, businesses, etc. And, so do the Ozzies. We both live in large countries with varying terrain. Ozzies told us that each State is so different (duh!, California to Georgia) and that you can't just get a feel for Oz by visiting one. So we visited them all! They also warned us about the distances you had to drive to do it! As Americans we can tell you...we're used to driving a long way to get anywhere too. Scott, however, has pointed out our 'cousins' have to deal with different road conditions. Their expertise in vehicle modifications is unprecedented.
When the Egret crew leaves Australia it will feel a bit like leaving 'home' again. We have felt very much at home here; we have grown to love her. We'll miss our 'cous' and follow news regarding Oz as we continue traveling. At least Scott and I still have our photo memories of Australia and can sit in the evenings aboard and ooh and aah over what we were so fortunate to see and experience.
July 6, 2010
Position: Eucla, Western Australia (just over the border from South Australia)
G'Day mis amigos, the past couple days in Queensland have been like riding thru the Ponderosa. It is so pretty it hurts your eyes. Its not majestic type pretty but with rolling hills covered in grasslands and sparse trees. Lets just say it is a pastel, serene landscape. We took a narrow paved road north into Carnarven National Park. It started off 2 lane, then went to a lane and a half, then to one lane, then to a clay type gravel on into the park. It was our good luck to be following unseasonably late rain so the road was freshly graded and had very few stretches of mind numbing corrugations. Corrugations/washboard roads don't physically beat you up it is the noise inside the 16 year old MBE rattling away that is tiring.
Once in the park the attractions were close together and 3 were along a 4.7k loop walking trail. There were unusual rock formations like The Chimneys, 3 isolated limestone towers protected on top by a hard rock, Lots Wife, a singular column in the middle of nowhere but best of all was the major Aboriginal rock art. In one site there were not only stencil type drawings but carvings in the soft limestone as well. The carvings showed mostly animal footprints as if to tell a story. Aboriginal art is found in cave shelters from the sun and water. What appear to be freshly redone may in fact be many thousands of years old. Carbon testing of fire remains in the first cave was from 9700 years ago.
Stencil drawings are a simplified form of spray paint art. The Aboriginals mix ochre, usually red but we also saw a yellowish type, with water or fat, put it in their mouths and blow it over whatever stencil they use. Usually it is their hand or children's hands. This site contained a number of unusual drawings. Some drawings appeared to be rib bones and other objects but the two most interesting were the outline of an entire man and the second was of a spear throwing stick. Aboriginals in this area didn't use a spear thrower* but it apparently came as a trade item from the north. *a spear thrower is a flat, thin piece of wood with a simple handle on one end and a wood peg or animal tooth on the other end mounted at 45 degrees to fit into the end of a spear. This simple lever increases the speed and distance a spear can be thrown.
We had the entire campground to ourselves in an area of a rock hole (a deep hole in a stream bed where water remains thru the dry season). Our only neighbors were lotsa birds, some of which came begging just a meter or so away at breakfast, and lotsa kangaroos. The other side of the park was full to capacity. The reason was there are two separate road entrances to the park many k's apart.. The road we took showed 4WD only with all these warnings and so on. We were 2WD the entire time with no issues because everything was dry. It is school holidays and families with kids packed the other side where there is a paved road leading in.
So now we are in the town or Roma (just a bit away from the other Roma/Rome where we were at this same time exactly 5 years ago) Five years ago we had a 4th of July party on the docks with N47 Strictly For Fun, N57 Emeritus and N62 Grey Pearl. In the small world department we heard from The Pearl this morning with the latest issue of Tina's (Jones) adventures on the Sushi Run. They were in Okinawa at the time and leaving shortly for another island then on to Hong Kong. Small world isn't it?
So what will today bring? Who knows but it rained last night so we'll load up, find a nearby restaurant for breakfast, look over our maps and Lonely Planet guide to figure where to go next.
Later. Sitting in a mickey d's for breakfast (it was raining) we figured out our next direction. In a nutshell, we drove thru nearly a day's light rain east then south to the town of Stanthorpe. Tomorrow we will head south then east to the national parks west of Coff's Harbour. We got to the caravan park near dark; it was quite cold so we got a bungalow with a real bed, a toilet inside and a shower inside as well. Imagine that? Decadence. Nothing is too good for MS (my sweetie). The room even has a TV and HEAT (we didn't turn the TV on.........why bother? We did turn on the heat) Mary brought our stove and propane tank inside and didn't burn the curtains while cooking dinner. So we had a lamb dinner (lamb chops, asparagus, and potatoes) washed down with a room temp rum n coke. Life is good for the Egret crew. (Go ahead and giggle to yourselves. What did you see today?)
2 days later. It is difficult to recapture the previous day's enthusiasm after the fact. We found out later it was minus 9F degrees C (16F) and that is why we were freezing and took the room instead of living in a car. We had been climbing in elevation during the day as we entered the Great Dividing Range of mountains. There was ICE on the car in the morning. It soon warmed and we stopped in town for an oil change and a wander about town, bought some thermals, then took the Waterfalls Tourist Drive thru the mountains to the coast. A lady at the I site said this is the 3d most traveled route in Oz. We stopped first at Ebor Falls, and later Wollomombi falls. Mary got the best pics of Wollomombi Falls. Picture 1. Sure we have great falls pictures with the water a milky white haze (we have special filters for this) but SHE saw something in the middle of the falls that tells the story even better and is a bit artsy. These particular falls were
quite high and were double falls. Then it was a lazy, slow trip to Nambucca Heads. We are camped on the beach with real salt water just next door, mangroves, fish, sand bars and tings we are familiar with. Nambucca is on the Pacific Ocean with a river inlet. The inlet is a shallow affair with a bar at the entrance and would not be kind to ocean going boat, sail or power. The rip - rap rocks at the entrance remind us of the Azores with paintings on the rocks for nearly a kilometer. Mostly it is families announcing their stay but some were different. Picture 2 is our favorite. It is wonderful being near the ocean and like being home after the red dust of the desert.
Our boating friends from N43 Barquita will not be in Sydney when we planned to pass thru so we will bypass Sydney and take a more inland route west, then south.
Our boating buddy, KDA (Kiwi Dick Anderson) wrote and let us know he will join Egret for not only from the trip from Oz to South Africa but will also join us for the Atlantic crossing to Brazil and on to the U.S. of A. After traveling with Egret a couple of times including crossing the Tasman Sea and with N46 Suprr from Sydney, Oz to Thursday Island, Oz a few weeks ago, by early 2011 Dick will have more sea miles then many N owners. Dick will join Egret on August, 20th in Fremantle. We will leave soon after for Geraldton, Oz, to take on final fuel and wait for weather before clearing customs and the Indian Ocean crossing.
And speaking about boats, we heard from Knut and May from Norway where Egret will spend the winter of 2011/2012. Hopefully we will not have the winter they suffered thru this past winter. Where Egret will be docked normally takes minimal winterizing for our stay in Norway. When it gets super cold with short winter days in Norway we plan leaving Egret for some months to be in NZ for their summer. Before we leave we hope to be able to give a slide show presentation to their local yacht club and drive the long distance powerboat cruising stake into as many hearts as we can.
I would just like to pass on to you how lucky we feel having made the decision 9 years ago to do what we are doing today (long distance cruising by powerboat). We have done a number of out of the ordinary things in our lives but this is the best of the best. I hope you all get the message and more importantly, do something about it. If it is near Your Time we hope you wean yourselves from this drivel and start doing your own deal and forget about Egret. It really is all about you, not us. We are going to do our deal no matter what you do. Ball's in your court.
Later. Since we are already up on The Box (soapbox) lets look at recent events and the near future. The market is below 10k. The recovery doesn't look good short term in America or Europe and there is still a lot of what if's down the road. Those are the sad facts.
I doubt if there are any or certainly few poor people reading this drivel. This group has other interests. If I had to guess most readers are Boomers coming along and looking to their future. I am an early Boomer and most, like Mary, are younger. And again, if you are reading this you probably have enough ($) to do what we are doing. Perhaps not as much as you would like (same as us), but enough nevertheless. Now let's hypothesize for a minute. Let's say you or your spouse is diagnosed with some terrible disease tomorrow. Your family doctor who you have known for years and trust tells you in 3+- years you are going to be a worm farm. I'm sure your priorities would change overnight. You can't disagree. So what we're getting at is perhaps what you think is so important really isn't in the big picture. Living your dreams the last good years you have remaining is more important than more money I would assume. If you can quit charging to live (thru your disease), you can quit charging to live (life in your remaining years before the cutting starts), so to speak. You know where this is going and what you need to do if cruising is the venue that would make these remaining years the happiest. You could be on the water within weeks if you buy brokerage and buy soon. You would have the rest of the summer aboard your new boat and if you are on the U.S. east coast, the Bahamas in the winter are special. West coasters can head south for the Sea of Cortez and further down into Mexico. Med cruisers can go to the Canaries or Tunisia. The Australasia group can head for the islands; Tonga, Fiji, Vanuatu, New Caledonia and so on. Or you can sign for a new build and probably have it ready for next year. Or you can slave away and make more money. So what?
Nothing in life is free. VofE is the same. You have to put up with an occasional rant (for you, not for us) in order to get the information or inspiration you are seeking. Sorry.
So what will tomorrow bring? Who knows? We will head south for a bit then turn west to bypass the cities of the east and cruise thru the small towns of mid, eastern Oz. Small towns R Us. The past small towns we passed thru recently were main street towns* and wonderful. *Main street parking and some even had center parking. It was a delight.
Run south down the coastal road we did but not for long. After many k's traveling on the west coast, bottom to top, then down thru the red center and across to Queensland, the drivers we met; locals, truckers and the Grey Army towing white boxes were all courteous and none including the truckers tailgated. We drive well under the speed limit and make every effort to let folks pass and not hold anyone up. That all changed on the coastal road. No matter what speed we traveled, including the speed limit, that wasn't good enough. So at the first opportunity to turn west and go back across the Great Dividing Range of mountains we did. Until late today we didn't pass a single car and none passed us. That is our favorite kind of Oz driving.
The scenery today was just as spectacular as the trip across the range of mountains farther north. We passed so many farms in our travels I can see why Australia has so much farm goods for export.
Now for the downside. It has gotten cold since we moved south. Below freezing. And we're living in a car with no heat but each other. Actually, inside the car at night it is not uncomfortable at all. We have super warm sleeping bags we open and use as a blanket. It is the rest of the time like making coffee early in the morning with ICE on the windshield. Or getting up at night for a trip to the head. Or gobbling dinner sitting outside before it or we ice up. The other thing is the MBE has NO heat when under way. We think the heater system has a leak and is why the radiator lost most its coolant a week or so ago. The heater never worked in any case. No heat means no defroster which means we have to crack the windows until the inside temps match the outside so the windshield doesn't fog up. Mary can sit on her hands to keep warm but I can't. So I have frozen claws for hands until the sun warms things up. Of course on the boat we have
everything for cold weather. Not here. Tomorrow as we pass thru a town with a hardware store I'm going to stop and buy some work gloves.
OK, I'll stop whining. Make sure you buy that Stidd Ocean Voyager chair we were talking about a few VofE's ago and none of this will happen to you. Take the easy way out. Log in, plug in (IV, feeding tube and catheter)* and forget this nonsense. Hummmm. Lets see. We will keep sending pictures you can play on the big screen in front of your chair. So pull up the latest pic, then type in FRE (for freezing), hit the down arrow key until your hands are frozen claws as well and you will never have to leave the Stidd. Of course why do that for long when you can hit the WAR keys and the up arrow to warm your claws. Then you can e-mail your peer group of Stidd Voyagers and tell them you suffered just like the Egret crew and how much you enjoyed your Australian travels. And you never left the Stidd. Cool, eh? *there is a more inexpensive version (6k less) of the Stidd Ocean Voyager chair just announced where you do away with the tubes and
simply wear adult diapers and have food served to you that you will have to eat yourself. Pretty cool for the budget group but I don't think resale would be as strong when you swallow the anchor (quit cruising).
Today was a rain day driving thru scrub and desert except for the last few special hours. If it is possible to watch scrub turn green in front of your eyes, today was the day. Even piles of red dirt had a light patina of green sprouting. Today was a westbound day. For you locals here is the special deal. From Morgan in South Australia, head NW on highway B64 to the knock your eyes out town of Burra, N on highway A32 to Terowie, then up the jog road to Peterbourough. This drive thru high rolling sheep country hills is one of the prettiest drives we have ever taken. Picture 3. Of course driving the last few hours as the sun set made it even more special. We took a room in Peterbourough then drove into town for a pub meal in one of the 1800's hotels. We had platters heaping with good home cooked food and enjoyed meeting some locals.
Today's drive was a matter of pounding out the k's without much interesting to see. We traveled the eastern side of the Eyre Peninsula to Port Lincoln. We had wanted to stop in Port Lincoln in Egret but diverted to nearby Kangaroo Island instead. Port Lincoln is built on the tuna industry. I read somewhere PL has the highest per capita income of any city in Australia. The homes could be from any high end neighborhood anywhere and very much like our home town of Ft Lauderdale. There is a shore side walk behind the caravan park to the dock area of town. We strolled along this afternoon and got to see a portion of the great tuna fleet docked in an inland waterway. Tomorrow we plan to get up early and drive to the dock area before leaving and heading up the west coast of the peninsula.
We left before daylight to allow a bit of sightseeing before the stop at night. We have gotten so used to the green rolling hills it is not as special as the first days we were in similar terrain. We took a side trip out to the coast to see the coastal cliffs and a sea lion colony. It was pretty but didn't have the 'in your face' beauty of the Kimberly coast red rock cliffs. Sea lions in Patagonia don't have to worry much about predators except for the occasional leopard seal or Chilean crab fisherman who is out of bait. Here it is different. There were 2 pictures on the restaurant wall of a GIANT sharks some locals caught within a kilometer of where we were standing. The big guys are here to feed on the sea lions.
In any case here we are in another prefab tin box with the heater on and an inside shower. The caravan parks are VERY proud of their little tin boxes and it is wearing. So we are going to fast track back to Egret unless the weather warms while we are in an interesting area. More to follow.
It was another O dark thirty departure. Most of the day was spent driving thru scrub, however it was green scrub having rained the night before. We passed numerous warning signs (you know the animal signs) about local critters that you really don't want to hit. The list had kangaroos (like why should that be any different?), wombat (a stocky little beast about the size of a small pig) and CAMELS. Yup, wild camels from when they brought camels and Afgan camel jockys for the gold rush days. The camels were replaced by trains and trucks so they were set free and are a feral nuisance, particularly if you hit one with your car. The Afgans were sent back home and their English speaking descendents are making a killing sending U.S. taxpayer dollars to Dubai. Roaming cattle are bad enough but a camel with its tall legs is likely to end up in the seat with you via the windshield. That wouldn't be much fun. We saw wild camels in Uluru park feeding
next to the road we passed VERY slowly but were the only ones so far for the trip. Fortunately all we saw today was a road kill wombat and a few kangaroos. Along the way were tracks out to the coast for whale watching. We stopped at three and at the third we did get to see a whale about 100 meters off the beach swimming in circles but we were far enough away we couldn't tell what kind it was. It was probably a humpback.
Then we stopped for the evening in Eucla, Western Australia. After getting a room checking out the local sights was next. The first stop was an old telegraph station slowly being swallowed up by sand dunes. We drove to check it out and found a crumbling block building full of sand that wasn't that interesting. We did however; find some beautiful white sand dunes. So we played until after dark getting artsy photos.*
*There is a lot more to that story. We headed out like kids checking out the white dunes. We walked a ways and Mary said she was going to stop and wait for the perfect light for her photo's. Waaaaaay in the distance were some perfectly scalloped dunes like in the Lawrence of Araby movies. So off we went at a fast walk. And went, and went, aw, aw, and so on. Nearly an hour later we were finally in position. Shortly after the sun was right so we did our deal and headed back. I was careful to leave big footprints in the sand along the way to meet Mary at "the big dune". Of course I didn't leave until way after the sun was down and it was getting dark fast. I did have the foresight to carry a flashlight (torch) but in the end when I lost the trail in the scrub just dead reckoned back. ALL the dunes were big. It's a long story but in the end I saw this tiny dot of a beautiful person standing on a tall dune. I was thrilled. I flashed
the light at her and headed out. Up and down dunes for what seemed an hour or more I finally got her attention and she flashed her light back. She was freezing by the time I got there and I had shed nearly all my clothes because I was sweating like a peeg. So what's this all about? Mary didn't have a flashlight, she was using her camera flash. It was so dark it wouldn't focus so she used the little in camera light to shine on her hand and took a picture of her hand setting off the flash. I'm married to a genius. Picture 4 is my 8 mile 14k) round trip photo.
So there you have it. A few more days in The Life, a little soap box and tales of the road. Incidentally, if you go to the nordhavn.com, Voyage of Egret site and click on Pictures you will see the first edition of Egret's vacation pictures. Ciao.
Ed. Note - The glossary of Egretism terms will be posted on the Captain's Log home page for easy reference.